Red List habitat classification > RLE - Grasslands > RLE1.3c Mediterranean annual-rich dry grassland

Mediterranean annual-rich dry grassland

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLE1.3c
Threat status
Europe Near Threatened
EU Near Threatened
Relation to
Source European Red List habitat factsheet
European Red List of habitats reports
European Red List of habitats (Excel table)

Summary

These grasslands are composed mainly by short annual plants with a short winter-spring vegetative cycle. There is a large inter-annual variation in the development of plant communities that is attributed to climatic fluctuations and especially to the amount of precipitation during spring; usually in summer they become dry. They grow mainly in the Mediterranean macrobioclimate, extending into the Temperate one, but mostly within its Submediterranean variant. These nano-therophytic, often ephemeral, communities exhibit extremely rich plant diversity that is mainly composed by species of the families Leguminosae, Rubiaceae, Compositae, Umbelliferae and Gramineae. Consequently, the high plant species diversity results in a high communities' diversity. Floristic composition and plant diversity of these communities depends on geographical location, substrate, climatic factors and human activities. Most of them are pioneer, xerophytic, basophilous communities that develop on various substrata (limestone, clay, gypsum, dolomite, serpentines, mafic) with lithosols or slightly euptrophic soils. Occasionally, they occupy areas close to the sea, regardless of the substrate. The grasslands of this habitat type are found mainly in South Mediterranean countries and are considered as an ultimate stage in the degradative succession of xeric Mediterranean forests and shrub communities. Traditional practices such as logging, fires and grazing led to the degradation of forests and evergreen scrublands of the Mediterranean area, which gradually turned to grasslands. Abandonment of the traditional practices, mainly of grazing, facilitates the encroachment of woody species, a fact that may alter the character of this grassland habitat type.

Indicators of good quality:

  • extensive grazing, without signs of abandonment,
  • absence of crevice-like erosion,
  • absence (or low cover) of nitrophilous species,
  • absence of signs of secondary succession (e.g. encroachment of chamaephytes or shrub species)

Characteristic species
For full habitat description, please download the habitat factsheet.

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

The habitat is assigned to the category Near Threatened (NT) for both EU28 and EU28+, because of a significant qualitative decrease. However, this trend is accompanied by a slight quantitative decrease and is based on relatively few data, with quality data lacking for Spain, the country that reported the largest area. Due to the habitat's wide distribution, the Extent of Occurence is very large. On the other hand, the Area of Occupancy is relatively small, but still too high for the assignment of a hgher threat level. It should be considered, however, that the sites actually covered by these short-sized annual grasslands are patchy and very restricted and they may be easily overestimated.
EU
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Near Threatened CD1
Europe
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Near Threatened CD1

Confidence in the assessment

low
Red List of habitat categories and criteria descriptions

Pressures and threats

  • Agriculture
    • Agricultural intensification
    • Grassland removal for arable land
    • Intensive grazing
    • Abandonment of pastoral systems, lack of grazing
  • Sylviculture, forestry
    • Forest planting on open ground
  • Natural System modifications
    • Fire and fire suppression
  • Natural biotic and abiotic processes (without catastrophes)
    • Biocenotic evolution, succession
    • Species composition change (succession)

Habitat restoration potential

This habitat generally develops on shallow rocky soils, even in conditions of strong erosion, so it can rapidly re-colonize empty surfaces, provided that the successional processes are blocked by extensive grazing or controlled fire.

Trends in extent

Average current trend in quantity

Decreasing Decreasing
EU28 EU28+

Trends in quality

Average current trend in quality

Decreasing Decreasing
EU28 EU28+

Conservation and management needs

A balanced management including extensive grazing and controlled fire can represent an effective way to maintain this habitat type. Promotion and even reintroduction of the traditional pastoral systems is nowadays the only realistic approach for a correct conservation of these annual dry grasslands.

List of conservation and management needs

  • Measures related to agriculture and open habitats
    • Maintaining grasslands and other open habitats
  • Measures related to spatial planning
    • Establish protected areas/sites
    • Legal protection of habitats and species
    • Manage landscape features

Distribution

For each habitat a distribution map was produced from a wide variety of sources indicating known and potential occurrences of the habitat in 10x10 km grids within Europe. Occurrences in grid cells were given in two classes: actual distribution from relatively reliable sources (surveys, expert knowledge), and potential distribution based on models or less reliable indicators. Please download the fact sheet to see the map.

Geographic occurrence and trends

EU28 Present or presence uncertain Current area of habitat (Km2) Recent trend in quantity (last 50 years) Recent trend in quality (last 50 years)
Bulgaria Present Unknown Decreasing Decreasing
Croatia Present Unknown Decreasing Decreasing
France mainland Present Unknown Decreasing Decreasing
Corsica Present Unknown Decreasing Decreasing
Greece (mainland and other islands) Present 420 Unknown Stable
Crete Present 420 Unknown Stable
East Aegean Present 420 Unknown Stable
Italy mainland Present 244 Decreasing Decreasing
Sardinia Present 244 Decreasing Decreasing
Sicily Present 244 Decreasing Decreasing
Portugal mainland Present 200 Unknown Stable
Portugal Azores Uncertain 200 Unknown Stable
Madeira Uncertain 200 Unknown Stable
Savage Islands Uncertain 200 Unknown Stable
Spain mainland Present 819 Decreasing Decreasing
Balearic Islands Present 819 Decreasing Decreasing
Canary Islands Uncertain 819 Decreasing Decreasing
Malta Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Cyprus Present 23 Unknown Unknown
EU28 + Present or presence uncertain Current area of habitat (Km2) Recent trend in quantity (last 50 years) Recent trend in quality (last 50 years)
Bosnia and Herzegovina Present 6 Decreasing Decreasing
Albania Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Montenegro Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Kosovo Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Serbia Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown

Extent of Occurrence, Area of Occupancy and habitat area

Extent of Occurrence (EOO) (Km2) Area of Occupancy (AOO) Current estimated Total Area Comment
EU28 2389800 434 1,706
EU28+ 447 1,712
AOO = the area occupied by a habitat measured in number of 10x10 km grid cells.
EOO = the area (km2) of the envelope around all occurrences of a habitat (calculated by a minimum convex polygon).

Characteristic species

The full list of characteristic species and genus are available above from the Summary. The species available in the EUNIS database are shown here.
Flowering Plants Acinos alpinus
Flowering Plants Aegilops geniculata
Flowering Plants Aizoon hispanicum
Flowering Plants Ajuga iva
Flowering Plants Alyssum alyssoides
Flowering Plants Ammoides pusilla
Flowering Plants Arenaria capillipes
Flowering Plants Arenaria pomelii
Flowering Plants Arenaria serpyllifolia
Flowering Plants Atractylis cancellata
Flowering Plants Avena barbata
Flowering Plants Brachypodium distachyon
Flowering Plants Bromus fasciculatus
Flowering Plants Bupleurum baldense
Flowering Plants Bupleurum gerardi
Flowering Plants Bupleurum gracile
Flowering Plants Bupleurum semicompositum
Flowering Plants Callipeltis cucullaria
Flowering Plants Campanula erinus
Flowering Plants Catapodium rigidum
Flowering Plants Chaenorhinum macropodum
Flowering Plants Coronilla scorpioides
Flowering Plants Crepis neglecta
Flowering Plants Crucianella angustifolia
Flowering Plants Daucus durieua
Flowering Plants Echinaria capitata
Flowering Plants Euphorbia exigua
Flowering Plants Euphorbia falcata
Flowering Plants Euphorbia sulcata
Flowering Plants Filago eriocephala
Flowering Plants Filago pyramidata
Flowering Plants Gastridium ventricosum
Flowering Plants Geranium columbinum
Flowering Plants Geranium molle
Flowering Plants Gynandriris sisyrinchium
Flowering Plants Helianthemum salicifolium
Flowering Plants Hippocrepis biflora
Flowering Plants Hippocrepis ciliata
Flowering Plants Hornungia petraea
Flowering Plants Hypochoeris achyrophorus
Flowering Plants Iberis fontqueri
Flowering Plants Jasione penicillata
Flowering Plants Lactuca viminea
Flowering Plants Lathyrus sphaericus
Flowering Plants Limonium echioides
Flowering Plants Linaria huteri
Flowering Plants Linaria micrantha
Flowering Plants Linaria oblongifolia
Flowering Plants Linaria platycalyx
Flowering Plants Linaria simplex
Flowering Plants Linum strictum
Flowering Plants Lotus ornithopodioides
Flowering Plants Medicago littoralis
Flowering Plants Medicago minima
Flowering Plants Medicago rigidula
Flowering Plants Melilotus neapolitana
Flowering Plants Micropus supinus
Flowering Plants Minuartia hamata
Flowering Plants Minuartia hybrida
Flowering Plants Minuartia mediterranea
Flowering Plants Minuartia montana
Flowering Plants Odontites kaliformis
Flowering Plants Omphalodes linifolia
Flowering Plants Onobrychis caput-galli
Flowering Plants Ononis ornithopodioides
Flowering Plants Ononis pubescens
Flowering Plants Ononis reclinata
Flowering Plants Ononis viscosa subsp. breviflora
Flowering Plants Orchis fragrans
Flowering Plants Orlaya grandiflora
Flowering Plants Parapholis incurva
Flowering Plants Petrorhagia saxifraga
Flowering Plants Pistorinia breviflora
Flowering Plants Plantago albicans
Flowering Plants Plantago amplexicaulis
Flowering Plants Ptilostemon stellatus
Flowering Plants Romulea columnae
Flowering Plants Sedum sexangulare
Flowering Plants Sideritis romana
Flowering Plants Silene almolae
Flowering Plants Silene conica
Flowering Plants Silene germana
Flowering Plants Stipa capensis
Flowering Plants Thymelaea passerina
Flowering Plants Trachynia distachya
Flowering Plants Trifolium campestre
Flowering Plants Trifolium cherleri
Flowering Plants Trifolium scabrum
Flowering Plants Trifolium stellatum
Flowering Plants Valerianella eriocarpa
Flowering Plants Valerianella multidentata
Flowering Plants Valerianella rimosa
Flowering Plants Velezia rigida
Flowering Plants Vulpia ciliata
Flowering Plants Wangenheimia lima
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Acinos alpinus Flowering Plants
Aegilops geniculata Flowering Plants
Aizoon hispanicum Flowering Plants
Ajuga iva Flowering Plants
Alyssum alyssoides Flowering Plants
Ammoides pusilla Flowering Plants
Arenaria capillipes Flowering Plants
Arenaria pomelii Flowering Plants
Arenaria serpyllifolia Flowering Plants
Atractylis cancellata Flowering Plants
Avena barbata Flowering Plants
Brachypodium distachyon Flowering Plants
Bromus fasciculatus Flowering Plants
Bupleurum baldense Flowering Plants
Bupleurum gerardi Flowering Plants
Bupleurum gracile Flowering Plants
Bupleurum semicompositum Flowering Plants
Callipeltis cucullaria Flowering Plants
Campanula erinus Flowering Plants
Catapodium rigidum Flowering Plants
Chaenorhinum macropodum Flowering Plants
Coronilla scorpioides Flowering Plants
Crepis neglecta Flowering Plants
Crucianella angustifolia Flowering Plants
Daucus durieua Flowering Plants
Echinaria capitata Flowering Plants
Euphorbia exigua Flowering Plants
Euphorbia falcata Flowering Plants
Euphorbia sulcata Flowering Plants
Filago eriocephala Flowering Plants
Filago pyramidata Flowering Plants
Gastridium ventricosum Flowering Plants
Geranium columbinum Flowering Plants
Geranium molle Flowering Plants
Gynandriris sisyrinchium Flowering Plants
Helianthemum salicifolium Flowering Plants
Hippocrepis biflora Flowering Plants
Hippocrepis ciliata Flowering Plants
Hornungia petraea Flowering Plants
Hypochoeris achyrophorus Flowering Plants
Iberis fontqueri Flowering Plants
Jasione penicillata Flowering Plants
Lactuca viminea Flowering Plants
Lathyrus sphaericus Flowering Plants
Limonium echioides Flowering Plants
Linaria huteri Flowering Plants
Linaria micrantha Flowering Plants
Linaria oblongifolia Flowering Plants
Linaria platycalyx Flowering Plants
Linaria simplex Flowering Plants
Linum strictum Flowering Plants
Lotus ornithopodioides Flowering Plants
Medicago littoralis Flowering Plants
Medicago minima Flowering Plants
Medicago rigidula Flowering Plants
Melilotus neapolitana Flowering Plants
Micropus supinus Flowering Plants
Minuartia hamata Flowering Plants
Minuartia hybrida Flowering Plants
Minuartia mediterranea Flowering Plants
Minuartia montana Flowering Plants
Odontites kaliformis Flowering Plants
Omphalodes linifolia Flowering Plants
Onobrychis caput-galli Flowering Plants
Ononis ornithopodioides Flowering Plants
Ononis pubescens Flowering Plants
Ononis reclinata Flowering Plants
Ononis viscosa subsp. breviflora Flowering Plants
Orchis fragrans Flowering Plants
Orlaya grandiflora Flowering Plants
Parapholis incurva Flowering Plants
Petrorhagia saxifraga Flowering Plants
Pistorinia breviflora Flowering Plants
Plantago albicans Flowering Plants
Plantago amplexicaulis Flowering Plants
Ptilostemon stellatus Flowering Plants
Romulea columnae Flowering Plants
Sedum sexangulare Flowering Plants
Sideritis romana Flowering Plants
Silene almolae Flowering Plants
Silene conica Flowering Plants
Silene germana Flowering Plants
Stipa capensis Flowering Plants
Thymelaea passerina Flowering Plants
Trachynia distachya Flowering Plants
Trifolium campestre Flowering Plants
Trifolium cherleri Flowering Plants
Trifolium scabrum Flowering Plants
Trifolium stellatum Flowering Plants
Valerianella eriocarpa Flowering Plants
Valerianella multidentata Flowering Plants
Valerianella rimosa Flowering Plants
Velezia rigida Flowering Plants
Vulpia ciliata Flowering Plants
Wangenheimia lima Flowering Plants

Vegetation types

Relation to vegetation types (syntaxa)

Not available

Other classifications

This habitat may be equivalent to, or broather than, or narrower than the habitats or ecosystems in the following typologies.
Classification Code Habitat type name Relationship type
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200711 E1.3 Mediterranean xeric grassland narrower
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